Wading through all the comments on Facebook about Renee Zellweger’s “new look” have made me think a lot about a common thread between abortion rights, trans bodies, and body modification through surgery. The common issue is between them all is bodily autonomy, the right to make choices about what happens to you your own body.
“But she looked good/better/different before the surgery!”
“She looks ok, but I think she was more attractive as a guy!”
According to who? I’m kind of dumbfounded when someone agrees a woman should have the right to choose what do concerning an unplanned pregnancy, but will comment on a person’s choice for elective body modifications. Why is that ok? It seems to me that it’s Feminism 101 to say that women should have the right of bodily autonomy.
I find celebrity culture to be a tad bit creepy. People will comment freely about a woman’s body as if it’s something of theirs to critique? It’s objectification at its highest level. They probably wouldn’t appreciate the same level of critique of their mother, sister, or partner’s bodies, but they seem to feel they have a right to comment on the body of someone they’ve never met and don’t know? How far is this from the religious fundamentalist (or TERF) who will say:
“The writers of Scripture viewed any attempts at overriding one’s birth-sex as abhorrent, a sacrilege against the structures of maleness or femaleness created by God, and ultimately a rebellion against the Creator who made our bodies,”
The underlying theme is the same, regardless of who it’s coming from. It’s an assertion of ownership, outside of one’s own body. It’s an assertion that bodily autonomy is harmful, and that any change to the “natural body” is mutilation:
“Now one of the things I find puzzling about it is that, when I look at the House of Lords debate on this legislation, those I agree with most are the radical right. Particularly the person I find that I agree with most, in here, and I’m not sure he will be pleased to find this, is Norman Tebbitt… Tebbitt also says that the savage mutilation of transgenderism, we would say if it was taking place in other cultures apart from the culture of Britain, was a harmful cultural practice, and how come we’re not recognising that in the British Isles. So he makes all of these arguments from the radical right, which is quite embarrassing to me, but I have to say, so called progressive and left people are not recognising the human rights violations of transgenderism or how crazy the legislation is. – Sheila Jeffreys
My belief (regardless of if we’re talking about trans people, sex workers, Renee Zellweger, or someone who is pregnant) that it is “my body, my choice.” The right to make choices about your body is a basic, fundamental human right.